Massachusetts

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The beer scene in Massachusetts has become so great that we rarely drink beer that’s from outside the state! While we should expand our horizons outside of our beautiful home state, it’s hard to when we have places like Dorchester Brewing Co. right down the street.

Recently our travels took us to lovely Acton to visit friends. We met at True West and discovered even more great Massachusetts beer.

True West Acton

True West is a beautiful, airy space that was perfect for lunch with the most adorable baby. Who doesn’t love a kid-friendly brewery?!

beer flight  True West beer

I found it impossible to decide on a beer flight at True West and asked them to send out whatever they thought would be best. They did a great job of giving me a diverse lineup to taste. Being a fan of darker beers, I loved the Dubbel the most, but I really enjoyed all of the beers, including the Ruckus, which was a super balanced IPA. I am not always a fan of IPAs, so it says a lot when I like one! I also liked their pumpkin beer, which I haven’t been able to say in a while. Most pumpkin beers end up tasting like potpourri to me (not that I have ever eaten it), but this had a nice blend of spice with a touch of sweet.

True West beer

Tasty pub food paired well with the beer and chilly day. I went for the turkey BLT and the homemade tater tots.

BLT The BLT was on a great, hearty white bread and was well-stacked with bacon and turkey, and the tots. . . well just look at them! They were huge and homemade, served with a great house ketchup. I usually don’t like to veer away from Heinz, to be quite honest, but this was so flavorful and the perfect dip for their tater tots.

homemade tater tots

Everything from the space to the beer to the food at True West flowed together really well and made for a great drinking and dining experience. I hope we have more opportunities to visit in the future, and if you find yourself in Acton, definitely stop in.

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Tags: acton, beer, Boston blogger, brewery, Food, food blog, food blogger, local beer, Massachusetts, weekends

Summer is winding down this week, but I have a few more summer travel posts to share! To me, summer is a state of mind (or so I try to remind myself when I am shoveling snow and falling on icy sidewalks), and this year, like those past, was filled with time outside and moments where I fell in love with the season over and over again.

This past weekend we took a last minute, last weekend of summer getaway to somewhere close to home, Ipswich. While we are lucky to travel around the US and internationally fairly often, I am always craving a getaway that combines my love of New England and the sea and one that’s not super far away. I wanted to relax for the weekend without having to take a huge journey, and that’s just what we did. Once again, we used Flipkey for our rental, which I have found to be super easy, along with having lots of options. (Read about our Flipkey experience in Sonoma, one of the best getaways of my life.)

beach cottage

Back to Ipswich. . .

After way too much traffic to get from Boston to Ipswich, we were met with beautiful coastal views as we made our way to the peninsula of Little Neck, accessed by a narrow road not far from Ipswich town. A friendly greeting from the property manager, including zucchini bread made by his mom, and a tour of the cottage set the tone for a great weekend.

IMG_8667

For me, the cottage was love at first sight. With two makeshift bedrooms, one that doubled as the living room, it was the perfect amount of space for four of us, and the rustic, beachy nature of the place was as though I had designed it myself.

beach cottagebeach cottage

Inside was so sweet, with all of the comforts of home, including good WiFi and air conditioning, while still feeling like a relaxing throwback to a bygone era. We certainly didn’t need the air conditioning; windows open allowed for cool cross breezes to come through, making it very comfortable, especially for sleeping.

The inside was a little piece of cottage heaven, but the porch. . .

beach cottage Unless we were sleeping or out, we spent all of our time on the porch. Stretching the length of the cottage and screened in (perfect for my husband and friend who are bug bite magnets), the porch was an oasis with water views all around. Also, it was SO quiet that we could mostly hear the current of the water and the wind in the grass at the water’s edge. Peaceful.

coastal living

The porch was great for evening chats until we moved inside to be respectful of the neighbors, and it was blissful for late afternoon happy hour with Domaine Chandon and a cheese plate.

happy hour

On our first morning, I happened to open my eyes just at sunrise, and while everyone else was tucked in, ran outside barefoot into the cool, dewy grass to take this photo. Something about a summer sunrise, especially one that I got all to myself, makes my soul so happy. This was something I will never forget.

sunrise in Ipswich

I can’t say enough about this cottage, and I could easily see us spending a week there next summer. Little Neck feels like a world away, but it’s just a few miles from Ipswich town and all of its stores and restaurants. Crane Beach is also nearby, but the Little Neck cottage comes with access to a private beach for the community as well as access to Pavilion Beach, a few minutes’ walk away.

Ipswich

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Tags: beaches, beachy, coastal living, Ipswich, Massachusetts, New England, summer, Travel

Sometimes you get to combine work and things and places you love, and over the past year, that’s happened to me more than once. I got to work in Sonoma on a project last summer, and for the past year I have been working with the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council in Western Massachusetts. As a UMass alum, I find that Amherst and Northampton hold some of my favorite memories, and the area is still one of my favorites to visit. There is SO much good food, beer, and wine, and gorgeous open outdoor space. And that’s just the beginning.

A few weeks ago I headed West for a meeting, and since it was on a Friday, I decided to stay the night in Northampton.

The beautiful and historic Hotel Northampton, a business I also work with, was my home for the night. It’s the perfect place to stay, and I’m not just saying that because I am lucky enough to work with them.

 

Hotel Northampton atrium

 

Hotel Northampton

Built in 1927, the hotel maintains historic charm and character while also being impeccably clean and well-kept, a true place of elegance and luxury, where you feel like sinking into a chair and never leaving.

Hotel Northampton lobby    Hotel Northampton Our beautiful and cozy room featured two balconies, where we enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of Northampton on a warm July night.

Northampton, MA Throughout, lovely little details like bookshelves, beautiful old fixtures, and welcoming staff really add to the special feel of the hotel.

Hotel Northampton Wiggins Tavern Wiggins Tavern, with its dark wood, plaid furniture, and historic artifacts is a place that can’t be missed. They have a great food and drink selection, and being that it’s a tavern that was actually brought from another location, it is just very interesting.

Hotel Northampton

Free breakfast at the Coolidge Park Cafe is filling and delicious, served in a bright and sunny space, the perfect way to start the day.

It was tempting to just hang out at the hotel, but there’s so much going on in Northampton and its surroundings, we had to get out and about. We enjoyed part of the Northampton Arts Council Summer Concert Series, which took place right next to the hotel, and we browsed the sidewalk sales which were happening that weekend.

 

New City Brewery

We had heard great things about New City Brewery and their ginger beer mimosa flight, and it certainly lived up to the hype! How beautiful is this?! It was SO delicious and refreshing and a unique tasting option.

In the same complex, we stumbled into the Community Food Engine, a really cool hydroponic restaurant and indoor park. It wasn’t open yet, but from the peek we got, we were definitely intrigued!

Community Food Engine

For me, no trip to the Northampton area is complete without visiting Black Birch Vineyards. I love their wine and their stunning vineyard views. I kicked my shoes off, got a cold glass of Chardonnay, and soaked up the beautiful country life.

Black Birch Vineyard

While there are many places to eat in Northampton, I will admit I had two meals at Bueno y Sano, and old college favorite. I will forever love their tacos and am obsessed with their hot sauce. The next time I visit, I want to explore more of the restaurants, including Bistro le Gras, which everyone raves about. I need a week to eat there!

bueno y sano

Before we headed out of town, we stretched our legs with a walk on the trail at the Mill River, which is very close to downtown Northampton. You can really have the best of all worlds, fine dining and shopping, downtown life, and outdoor adventures all within a few miles in Western Massachusetts.

Mill River Mill River

For past posts on visiting Western Massachusetts:

Eating our Way around Amherst

Perfect Massachusetts Getaway

If you’re interested in a Western Massachusetts itinerary, don’t miss the Visit Hampshire County blog.

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Tags: Massachusetts, Northampton, Travel, travel blog, travel blog posts, travel blogger, Western Massachusetts

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